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1--I like it, whether or not I agree, when politicians speak truth as they understand it based upon their principles, especially when what they say seems to undermine their preferred outcome, i.e., is not to their advantage. Like Walter Cronkite said, "And that's the way it is."

2--I dislike it, in fact they lose me, when politicians make statements that can easily be debunked with even the most cursory review of evidence, which they nevertheless argue because the "narrative" is to their advantage. Like Stephen Colbert said, "Truthiness - It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all."

3--I'm a staunch proponent of the First Amendment, i.e., freedom of speech, so I consider Big Tech/Social Media and Big Media's increasing censorship of information and points of view they believe is "misinformation" or "dangerous" and does not align with their version of the "publicly acceptable narrative" (e.g., earlier, views re the pandemic, now partisan politics) fundamentally un-American, Orwellian, and a serious threat to free democratic society. I say this re all points of view on the ideological spectrum.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

A recent Facebook audit comes from ongoing public pressure, not just from conservatives but from liberal civil rights groups and corporations. The conservatives tend to want more protection of free speech, and there is already a lot of evidence of Facebook or YouTube blocking content some committee determined dangerous (e.g., about C-19). 

The liberals tend to want to block speech or advertising they consider hate speech or otherwise just unacceptable in terms of the latest politically correct or ideological pantheon of social crimes. It's actually the liberals putting on the most pressure right now. FB and YT have also blocked Christian content (even Prager U videos about the 10 Commandments). 

How they get away with this so far is that they are deemed private enterprises and "publishers," meaning they get to determine what's on their sites. This is protected by their First Amendment rights.

But then again, they also bill themselves as "public forums" where all manner of ideas can be discussed, and if you add Google, which owns YT, FB that owns Instagram, and Twitter, which also censors tweets, you could say they're actually info monopolies. As public forums and as monopolies or nearly so on information communication, it would seem the First Amendment should apply.

So for now, Big Info Tech is clearly suppressing conservative content they don't like and not blocking enough content liberals deem censorable. 

None of this is good for the First Amendment or free and pluralistic democracy.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Social media is great for relationship building but is not good at fostering critical thinking, analysis, or reasoned debate.

People post emotionally, not that this is illegitimate in itself. Emotions are genuine expressions of human feeling and as such are important. But emotions that don’t or can’t allow a focus upon the facts or science or even just another person’s point of view are ultimately not helpful.

June 2018, I wrote an article entitled, “The Death of Discussion.” This was long before the experience of the current coronavirus pandemic. I argued that “We’ve come to a point in a so-called post-truth or fake news culture (and Church?) in which polarization is so pronounced we can no longer communicate, resulting in a virtual inability to discuss, much less debate, any social-political issue without becoming defensively partisan, ideological, or upset.” This is still taking place and is now, in my view, worse than it was.

The COVID-19 crisis has pitted partisans and ideologues, Big Media coverage-qua-hype that stirs up the populace, and a long list of “experts” against one another. Social media has exploded with the same. Social media may work to alert or get out a word but is not good at encouraging adults in the room to think beyond the short-term.

I’m not saying social media is “bad” or a curse upon the land. No, in fact it gives access to people who might not otherwise have a place to express their opinion, or Yes, their feelings. What I’m saying, though, is that for good stewardship of a country or company and long-term decision-making, social media leaves a lot to be desired.

Unless you are a person with a significant following social media is limited. You post your ideas, attitudes, or feelings to basically the same audience of friends, fans, or followers day after day. Same people. If you really want to influence the body politic, post in a blog or on a website, or publish somewhere online so your content is searchable and open to the www, the “world-wide” web, not just your social media BFFs.

Social media invites off-the-cuff commentary. Nothing wrong with this per se, but it seems for many this is as far as it goes. Social media is a shoot-off-your-mouth methodology. More heat than light and, again, this approach offers little that actually informs, helps, or persuades us.

If you doubt me, post a nonpartisan comment about a current issue, maybe when the United States should attempt to reboot its economy in the wake of spring 2020 coronavirus pandemic sheltering in place orders. Then watch what happens. You’ll get emotional diatribes, ranting, partisan slants, some using insulting terms to refer to leaders on the other side, childish memes, and accusations. You won’t get much reasoned consideration. I know. I’ve tried this.

I will say that social media is a good tool to encourage connectivity with family, friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances. Various platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or just Whatsapp can facilitate keeping in touch with others’ lives. And this is a blessing of the Information Age. 

That’s where I’ll leave this. Social media works for “social.” It does not work for informed discussion, debate, or decision-making. My advice if you need the latter? Look online for another outlet.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.     

I've read more than my share of rants, angst, attacks, put-downs and more on my social media pages. These posts originate on both the Left and the Right and make it their purpose to pollute the air. Problem is, these kinds of posts add nothing, just more of the same.

I encourage people to post what they Think. Tell me Why you like or dislike something, Why you hold your views, and try to persuade me your view is correct.

Here's a short article with some social media recommendations on creating value-added posts.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/value-added-social-media-posts-rex-m-rogers/

I’m weary up to my ears with angry, cynical, gotcha, this-political-leader’s-latest-dumb-thing social media posts. These posts originate on both the Left and the Right, and they overrun my social media.  

It’s a free country (though recently, some folks seem to want to silence anyone with whom they disagree).  So, I get that people can post whatever they want. And I get that people will have differing points of view—actually, this is healthy in a free society—so this piece is not arguing for you to change your views. 

But aside from this, it’s a free country for me, too, so I’m going to share a few recommendations for social media posting.

Social media posts that offer nothing but another put-down of given leaders and/or their actions, or offer another rant, or throw shade on someone, do not help me much. These posts may help the posting-person to vent, but the posts don’t develop my understanding of his or her point of view. And such posts don’t really offer any substantive ideas to persuade me toward a different view. They just express angst.

What kind of social media posts actually make impact?

  • Offer something original, something you think, you wrote, not just quotes from others or citations of news stories that bother you. Most of all, tell us Why.
  • Include not just your feelings but again – what you think– or a point of view someone else has developed that you endorse.
  • Periodically make a comment that is positive…about anything, i.e., find something that your political opposition has done with which you agree and affirm it. If you find this impossible, identify something else positive to say so you don’t become a curmudgeon. If all you do is cry, “Wolf,” or all you say is, “The sky is falling,” then after a while, you won’t be heard at all. 
  • Avoid using degrading or profane languagein your posts. While this seems to be the trend of the day, even among the nation’s leaders, it doesn’t have to be ours. This recommendation is not about being a prude but about being practical. If you want to persuade people to your point of view you are more likely to accomplish this with respectful and intelligent language than the base vocabularies and insults now being spouted by many celebrities and political leaders.
  • Vary the contentof your posts. If you’re a political junkie, OK, nothing wrong with that, but you’ll wear your readers down and your posts won’t be read if they all sound the same. So once in a while, post about your hobby or your travels or your family, anything you think your friends and followers might find interesting. 

If you implement these simple approaches to your social media posts, you’ll soon be offering your readers value added, something they haven’t heard or maybe cannot get elsewhere, and your number of followers will increase. You might even persuade them to your point of view.

Post all you want. Raise the bar with value-added commentary and make a contribution to public discourse in the body politic.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

We live in a social media age. Unless you’ve chosen to live off the e-grid you’re probably participating in some kind of social media experience, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Incredibly, more people are now active monthly on Facebook, about 2.07 billion, than the population of the United States and China combined. It’s a global village.

With this kind of connectivity, and with immediacy made possible by mobile devices, anyone who wants to “talk to the world” can do so in seconds by posting online. This is interesting, good in some measure, not so good in others--reason being, it’s not the content of the post but the people posting that matter. They’re the ones who are good in some measure, not so good in others.

Since the 2016 US Presidential election campaign, it seems more people (around the globe not just in the States) are posting regularly about politics, and in particular, often posting about President Donald Trump. This is occurring for many reasons—

  • the ease of access of social media,
  • increasingly divided politics, ideologically, ethnically, demographically, and otherwise,
  • Pres. Trump’s ongoing use of Twitter, and
  • the president’s persona—bigger than life, at the center of every issue whether you like him or his views, or not.

All this means more politics in social media.

One of the staples of this growing politicization of social media (Maybe we should just throw in the towel and call it political media?) are shoot-from-the-lip reaction-posts. You don’t like what’s said or happening, so you reach for your device, go online, and let it rip, posting your rant and venting your emotions without filter.

OK, if you want to rant or vent on social media, go ahead, it’s a free country, at least it’s constitutionally supposed to be (The US is experiencing an increase in individual’s or groups’ attempts to limit the First Amendment free speech of others, particularly people or groups with whom they disagree). But the problem with venting or ranting regularly is that after a while few people pay attention, other than those who already share your view. So, you’re mostly preaching to the choir. And though you may not care, you gain the reputation of a malcontent, a curmudgeon, one who “Cries wolf,” or simply an unpleasant associate.

Let me say outright: There are better ways to comment, critique, or criticize than ranting or venting. I’m not saying you shouldn’t speak. I’m saying there is a better way than politically ranting or venting. By “better” I mean more effective, more likely to reach and influence others. Isn’t that the purpose of your rant, to reach others?

With venting, maybe not. Maybe it’s just to blow off your own steam. Either way, social media is inundated with these kinds of posts and even the social media industry is beginning to consider ways to “re-socialize” social media, i.e. reduce one-n-done negative political rants.

As an aside, I’ll add that the other problem with social media posts, specifically those involving “friends,” “fans,” or “followers,” is that your post primarily reaches a subset of these people. Theoretically you can speak to the world via social media but due to complex algorithms that’s not generally how it works. Even the President’s well-known tweets reach only his followers, unless and until media quote his comments. If you want to speak into culture, win friends, and influence others, maybe you should consider launching a blog that’s available to the “world wide” web.

Now, how can we comment, critique, or criticize in an influential manner?

  • Check your facts. Nothing undercuts credibility more quickly than false statements—something presidential candidate Hilary Rodham Clinton and Pres. Trump have had to learn in their use of social media. Just take the time to do a little research online. If something bothering or encouraging you is indeed false, why waste time on it? If something with which you agree or disagree is indeed true and happening, then speaking up with a firm foundation of factual data reinforces your point of view.
  • Popping off is just popping off. We’re back to ranting and venting. Maybe it helps you feel better, so go ahead, but I recommend tossing your text after it’s written. Don't post popping off. In the pre-social media days, I used to write letters in which I dumped my arguments and feelings about organizational developments that concerned me, but then I destroyed the letters, never sending any of them, ever. Made me feel better but I didn’t spread around hastily-conceived negative thoughts. If I really had something substantive to say, I took the time to develop my argument and shared it with the right people in the right place at a later time.
  • Gotcha posts aren’t worth much. Other than giving you a reputation of a self-appointed watchdog with nothing of your own to contribute, gotcha posts are just jabs, more of the same, just one more chance for you to say, "Look what the bad pol has done now." For example, whatever you think of Republican or Democrat posturing or comments, constantly posting the latest perceived faux pas of the other side doesn’t change the narrative. What do you think? If you were a political leader, or in the Oval Office, what would you do? How would you suggest we encourage Middle East peace, or what policies do you support re immigration reform? So it goes. Say something meaningful. Add to the conversation. Add an alternative idea. Gotcha is old news.
  • Talk about issues rather than people. Focus your posts and arguments on the issue of the moment instead of adding another round of gossipy criticism of a politician you don’t like. OK, you don’t like him or her, we get that, but what do you think about the issue?
  • Respect others and their right to hold their views. Attacking the person(s) holding views different from your own does not advance your argument. It just lets us know you don’t like that man or woman. I’m weary of posts using terms like “moron,” “idiot,” “crazy person” to describe political leaders whose views one does not appreciate. Even if a political leader somehow deserves these appellations, what good does it do to keep labeling him/her this on social media? And do you really want to use this kind of low-level vocabulary in your political discussions?
  • Comment and Critique rather than Criticize. Comment is any statement, positive or negative, good or bad. Critique is analysis, which could be critical but may not be and is best based upon studied reflection and review of data. Criticizing or criticism generally implies a negative assessment, which is why the term “constructive criticism” is used to describe an evaluation that attempts to be helpful, no matter the nature of the review. Learning to offer critique that respects others and their right to hold their views, respects the democratic process, and ultimately attempts to resolve a problem is better than criticism per se that offers nothing but cutting disapproval.
  • Seriously consider others’ views. Before you post, comment or critique and especially criticism, give a careful look-see at others’ views. Many seemingly either/or issues are not either/or. They’re more complex than this, and frequently there are points of agreement that could further the discussion if acknowledged.
  • One side of the partisan aisle is not always right. You may not agree with this, but over time it is easy to document that both Republicans and Democrats, men and women, Liberals and Conservatives, Whites and Blacks, etc. etc. are at times in the wrong. So go slow when you tout loudly the sins of the other. Your turn is coming.

Keep sharing your views, including your comments, critiques, and criticisms, but do so in a way that advances our public conversations about the issues confronting us.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2018    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

 

My website has been upgraded – brighter, different colors, more easily readable font, new comment/feedback module, better back-end functioning. The work originally and this recent upgrade were completed by my son-in-law, Joe Drouillard of J D Web Design Studio.

The content management system is Joomla, which I like, now that I’ve learned a few basics. It can do much more, but I haven’t needed its full capacity so haven’t spent time on a learning curve. But what I can do gets the job done for me.

In my opinion, simple or fairly straightforward web designs are best. I don’t mean dull or boring designs, just designs and lettering that considers the viewer/reader’s eye and makes content as easily accessible as possible.

So, I recommend J D Web Design Studio to you. Joe does good work.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

 *This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.